In Silicon Valley, India's 'Iron Man' Modi To Deepen Ties With Tech Sector

| September 26 , 2015 , 23:12 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday left for San Jose in California on US' West Coast. "A working weekend on the West Coast. PM @narendramodi leaves for San Jose for the penultimate leg of his two-nation tour," tweeted external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup. Security Council reform essential, PM Modi tells UN Modi is set to visit Tesla Motors, in Palo Alto in California, to see the path-breaking inventions on renewable energy. He will also meet Apple CEO Tim Cook and later other tech company chiefs, like Microsoft's Satya Nadella, Google's Sundar Pichai, Adobe's Shantanu Narayen, Qualcomm's Paul Jacobs, Cisco's John Chambers, and The Indus entrepreneurs president Venky Shukla. ALSO READ: Silicon Valley To Give PM Narendra Modi ‘Rock Star’ Treatment According to reports, Modi is likely to reach San Jose by 1 AM. This visit of Prime Minister has been also termed by some as visit of 'Iron Man' to Silicon Valley. Before he meets with Obama in New York on Monday, Modi will be discussing his digital agenda with some of the technology’s biggest stars. He is due to dine with a list of CEOs that includes Apple’s Tim Cook and two native Indians, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella and Google’s Sundar Pichai. His itinerary also includes Sunday’s town hall alongside Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, a test drive with Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk in one of the company’s trend-setting electric cars and stop at Google’s Mountain View, California, headquarters. PM Modi's schedule: 3:30 AM: To Visit Tesla Motors HQ 5:30 AM: To Meet Apple Ceo Tim Cook 7:10 AM: To Meet Google CEO 7:30 AM: To Attend Digital India Meet Like many other technology workers born in India, both Nadella and Pichai came to the US to study engineering. Asians now hold 25-43% of the US technology jobs at Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook, according to the companies’ most recent disclosures. The racial breakdowns don’t specify what percentage of the companies’ Asian workforce is Indian, but they all acknowledge it’s a significant number. ALSO READ: PM Modi Pitches For Permanent UNSC Seat At G-4 Summit But technology companies aren’t embracing Modi just to please their Indian workers. They all view India as a potentially lucrative market for years to come. Although the country has produced many successful engineers, technology entrepreneurs and executives, much of the population in India still isn’t using computers. That makes it a ripe market for mobile devices and a wide range of other digital products and services. Facebook has already launched an effort to connect with lower-income Indians through Zuckerberg’s project, but that has met resistance from Indian groups who say the project favors the company’s social network and other products over homegrown web services. That’s just one reason why Wadhwa believes Zuckerberg and other Internet executives are trying to woo Modi as an ally. “Poverty is a massive problem in India and technology-based entrepreneurship can be an antidote,” said Silicon Valley venture capitalist Venktesh Shukla, who also will be meeting with Modi on behalf of The Indus Entrepreneurs, a group that helps Indians form and launch startups. “We want to talk to him about how to create the framework to replicate the magic of Silicon Valley in India.” (With IANS and AP inputs)